IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The Role of Energy in Productivity Growth

  • Dale W. Jorgenson
Registered author(s):

    The objective of this paper is to analyze the role of energy in the growth of productivity. The special significance of energy in economic growth was first established in the classic study Energy and the American Economy 1850-1975, by Schurr and his associates (1960) at Resources for the Future. From 1920 to 1955, Schurr noted, energy intensity of production had fallen while both labor and total factor productivity were rising.' The simultaneous decline of energy intensity and labor intensity of production could not be explained solely on the basis of substitution of less expensive energy for more expensive labor. Since the quantity of both energy and labor inputs required for a given level of output had been reduced, technical change would also be a critical explanatory factor.From 1920 to 1955 the utilization of electricity had expanded by a factor of more than ten, while consumption of all other forms of energy only doubled. The two key features of technical change during this period were that (1) the thermal efficiency of conversion of fuels into electricity increased by a factor of three, and (2) "the unusual characteristics of electricity had made it possible to perform tasks in altogether different ways than if the fuels had to be used directly."2 For example, as Schurr noted, the electrification of industrial processes had led to much greater flexibility in the application of energy to industrial production.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.iaee.org/en/publications/ejarticle.aspx?id=1648
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to IAEE members and subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by International Association for Energy Economics in its journal The Energy Journal.

    Volume (Year): Volume 5 (1984)
    Issue (Month): Number 3 ()
    Pages: 11-26

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:1984v05-03-a02
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 28790 Chagrin Blvd Ste 350, Cleveland, OH 44122, USA
    Phone: 216-464-5365
    Fax: 216-464-2737
    Web page: http://www.iaee.org
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web: http://www.iaee.org/en/publications/ejsearch.aspx

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aen:journl:1984v05-03-a02. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Williams)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.